Posts tagged ‘4stars’

January 25th, 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Iron Queen

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: January 25th, 2011 by Harlequin

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5


My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back. [From Goodreads

Official Review Sent to Harlequin*:

The Iron Queen is a tantalizing sequel to the increasingly intriguing Iron Fey series. From page one, I was re-wrapped in the web of the Nevernever and welcomed the embrace of the characters I had already learned to love, although I found some of them significantly changed. Everything in this book is accelerated. We dive deeper into the romances, friendships, and rivalries of the Fey. The Iron Queen is constantly moving, everyone running somewhere toward something at all times. The third book in the Iron Fey series gave me whiplash.


The Iron Queen is certainly extraordinary and enjoyable, but there were a few problems I had with it. Most of those problems were caused by one thing – my abounding love for the first book in the series. The Iron King (Review) blew me away with its phenomenal descriptions and fascinating world, but the second book, and now the third, have failed to wow me in equally significant ways.

On the other hand, The Iron Queen can certainly hold its own. The second book left things in ashes, and the phoenix that is reborn from them is glorious and fresh. This installment in the Iron Fey series has taken things in a new direction, while simultaneously tying up some loose ends left by the first two books.

The book picks up right where the second leaves off, but makes a sudden detour and lands us in the middle of a new, fresh pile of mess. In that pile of mess is rooted the fast-paced story of war, love, pride, sacrifice, friendship, and evolvement that is The Iron Queen.

You really don’t stop moving until the very, very end, and even then you’re left with the feeling that the next book will consist of relentless sprinting. I can vow to you that you will open The Iron Queen with absolutely no idea what this book holds in store. I was bounced from one place to another, from one goal to another, from one prediction to another. It wasn’t until the last quarter or so that things seemed to be laid out in a particular order and I had a decent idea of what was going to happen.

Those of you who are reading this review for the sole purpose of hearing about the romance: Suffer no longer.

Although anyone who has read The Iron Daughter (Review) has a fairly clear idea of who Meghan will choose, this book serves as a confirmation. Finally, finally, I felt that things were “set in stone,” as horribly unromantic as that sounds. However, with every decision comes consequence(s), and Meghan’s is no exception. The character dynamics throughout the entire book were hugely affected by her choice, from her relationships with Puck and Ash to Puck and Ash’s friendship/rivalry.

The most intriguing aspect of the book to me was the detail and evolution of the Iron Kingdom and the ways of glamour. This book, more so than either of the others, struck me as Meghan’s story. Not the Fey’s, although their story definitely depends on the outcome of hers. Meghan’s adventures, both internal and external, have set the tone for the remainder of the series and created the foundation for what will undoubtedly be more incredible storylines. You will be wowed by the turns the story takes.

Here’s the deal, though: I found myself, uh… bored with Meghan. There was something about her throughout the entire book that felt forced and unnatural, and consequently, I had trouble relating to her and crawling inside her consciousness, if you will. This was my main fault with the book, and it soured the entire experience a bit. However, I was please by her strength, her resilience, and her nearly incomprehensible bravery.

Overall, The Iron Queen is both a conclusion and a catalyst. While it serves as a beautiful end to what could be called a very short but undoubtedly epic era, the end brought with it an incredibly deep desire for more! I have a feeling that the next book(s) in this series will astound me, and I cannot wait!

*Thanks so much for the ARC!

Also: Don’t forget to help me with my problem!

January 3rd, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman

Published: April 5th, 2011

Number of Pages: 258

Rating: 4/5

Official Review Sent to Dutton*:

Where She Went was far more intriguing, thoughtful, and beautiful than I had expected. Gayle Forman’s style weaves a picture that is so intricate and succinct that, even in a mere 258 pages, she manages to suck you into the world of Adam Wilde, a world that has shattered and rebuilt itself but has gaping holes where pieces were lost in the process. The story is interesting from the start, but the moment Mia and Adam run into each other – seemingly by luck – the book takes off on an irresistible journey, not of self-discovery, but rediscovery.


It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. [From Goodreads]


First of all, a reminder is in order: I was not the biggest fan of If I Stay. Part of my disappointment with it was probably due to the hype surrounding it and my hopes, which despite my wishes, ended up higher than would be advised. When I came across an ARC of Where She Went, the primary motivation for my picking it up was again the hype (I’m hopeless).  Of course, there were things I didn’t like so much – things I realize would have happened had the story been true that I still wish hadn’t, but…

Boy, was I surprised. I really, really enjoyed it! I can’t even pinpoint why I didn’t give it five stars, though I stand behind that rating. I was in love with Adam’s voice from the start (thought not a fan of some of his word choice. You know me…). I wanted to read. At the end of every chapter, I’d think, “Just one more.” This book is like oatmeal raisin cookies to me (a compliment). Even with my excitement to keep reading, the length of the book is perfect. If it was any longer, I’d have been driven mad – and Adam along with me.

I also loved that everyone was older. Adam’s twenty-one, and it’s been a full three years since he has seen Mia at all. Yet, he lives his life as though it were yesterday that she waved goodbye to him at the airport. All the progress it seems he’s made – Shooting Star, his band, is majorly successful due to him, he’s dating a movie star, he’s going on a tour that’s been sold out and tickets are probably being sold on eBay for hundreds of dollars – is in vain because the one thing he can’t have, the one thing he promised to let go, is the thing he wants more than anything.

Seeing the differences and developments in everyone’s lives was fascinating, especially as my recollection of the events in If I Stay improved. Mia’s been successful as well, and, much to Adam’s chagrin, she seems far more put-together than him.

This book is such a thoughtful – even philosophic one. The bits of Shooting Stars’ songs at the beginning of chapters only add to this element, and the monologues, dialogues, everything throughout the book is complementary.

Where She Went undoubtedly touched me in a deeper way than its companion novel. The new versions of Mia and Adam, the patched-together-but-not-quite-whole ones, made for a fantastic forty-eight-hour adventure. I enjoyed the descriptions of New York and the memories of Oregon even more (naturally).

One of the fascinating elements of the story was the fact that Mia and Adam’s relationship seemed to grow and change even during their three years of separation – and I mean total separation. The closest they got were articles in the tabloids and newspapers. As they open up to each other and learn to deal with all the emotions – from hatred to love – that have been put on the backburner, their wounds are stitched up, leaving scars but not infection.

As I said in the review I sent to the publishers, this story isn’t about Adam finding Mia, it’s about him finding the resolution, the result he needed – quitting the Adam he’s become over the past three years and rediscovering himself.

Growth comes from every direction, including Mia’s. It seems at the beginning, just as it would to someone looking at Adam, that her life has improved tenfold and that there can’t be much to desire, but there always is. Once I got a peek into her, saw the light cast through the holes in the life she’s tried to rebuild, the story rounded itself further. I also learned to appreciate how much progress she had made, and I could respect and admire her a lot more than I had been able to in If I Stay.

Where She Went is a story about the recovery, rebuilding, and rediscovery of two desperate but strong people and their lives. It’s about fixing wrongs or letting them go. It’s about two people who are patching themselves back together.

*Super thanks for the ARC!